SESHA 2012 Symposium Abstract

Best Practices to Protect Workers and the Environment during Photovoltaic Manufacturing

Galland, Amy
(As You Sow)

Historically, the solar industry has faced hurdles competing against fossil fuels on cost, and the industry faces additional challenges because large scale manufacturing of solar panels currently requires the use of several compounds that are toxic to humans or the environment. Yet, overall production of solar panels and the electricity generated from them is much cleaner than fossil fuels. If the right policy measures are in place, solar energy can supply more than two thirds of the total electricity needs of the U.S. by 2050. A new report by As You Sow highlights the best practices of photovoltaics (PV) manufacturers to protect workers and the environment during the production of solar panels. Along with highlighting how solar manufacturing companies are reducing environmental, public health, and safety risks, the report offers steps companies can take to ensure clean production and fiduciary responsibility. The report was compiled from a survey of over 100 solar manufacturers around the world, and best practices were determined via consultation with scientists, engineers, academics, government labs, and industry consultants. As You Sow staff member, Amy Galland, will discuss some salient conclusions from this report. As You Sow is a nonprofit organization that promotes corporate responsibility through shareholder advocacy and innovative legal strategies.